What does being feminine mean to you?
To me, it means having the freedom to celebrate my body, and do so safely and within a society that respects my right to do it. In the Western world, feminism still has many gaps to fill and much respect to be earned, but femininity is something we exercise freely and often. You could be a TOWIE style heartbreaker, a burlesque beauty or a role model mother of twenty – the way in which you express femininity is your prerogative .
Not all women possess this freedom.
World Femininity Day
World Femininity Day took place last weekend. Founded by Zoe Charles, Headteacher of The Cheek Of It Burlesque School, this amazing lady hosted a daytime merkin making workshop and topped it off with an evening show entitled The Clittorati Party, which myself and our fabulous new writer Michelle Allen attended. We got dressed up all ladylike (yes, I class a cupcake dress as ladylike), drank Pimms until we fell over giggling and, most importantly, donated our ticket money to women who are prevented from doing this by painful, misunderstood and cruel traditions in third world countries.
Our ticket money went to the Orchid Project, and all we had to do was check out a superb burly lineup, including Hotcake Kitty, Rubyyy Jones and Tricity Vogue (who, by the way, plays a sensational rendition of Peggy Lee’s Fever on a ukelele).
The Orchid Project and Female Genital Cutting
The Orchid Project works directly with communities that enforce female genital cutting, believing it is the only way to make their daughters desirable for marriage – a trait without which, life doesn’t bear thinking about. Not only is the process unnecessary, but is carried out on girls between 5-8 years old and often without the use of sterilised tools, creating health issues and birth complications. In the harshest form of FGC, the wound that is left may be sewn closed with thorns or string. A small hole is left for menstrual blood and urine. The wound then heals over, and the scar tissue “seals” her vagina. A girl will then have to be cut open, just enough for sexual intercourse. When she goes into labour, she is cut open even more. After this she may be re-sewn and cut open again every time she gives birth.
Can you imagine living with this for the sake of being an attractive marriage prospect?
The Orchid Project is working hard and already making a difference in areas that endorse FGC, just by making them aware of the very real consequences. If there’s a cause worth donating to to make sure this good work can continue, this is the one.
Would you become an Orchid Project ambassador?
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